The Dark Knight (2008)
When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the caped crusader must come to terms with one of the greatest psychological tests of his ability to fight injustice.
Country United States
Genre Drama, Action, Crime, Thriller
- Reviews & Recommendations
- Technical Specs
- Trivia & Quotes
- Video Gallery
- Photo Gallery
In Sir Michael Caine's opinion, Heath Ledger beat the odds and topped Jack Nicholson's Joker from Batman (1989): "Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh. Heath's gone in a completely different direction to Jack, he's like a really scary psychopath. He's a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a hell of a revelation in this picture." Caine bases this belief on a scene where the Joker pays a visit to Bruce Wayne's penthouse. He'd never met Ledger before, so when Ledger arrived and performed he gave Caine such a fright he forgot his lines.
While filming the chase scene with the Joker and the SWAT vans, one of only four IMAX cameras in the world at that time was destroyed.
Heath Ledger's sudden death on January 22, 2008 prompted immediate speculation over the film's state. Soon after Ledger's tragic passing was announced, Warner Bros. Pictures issued a statement that verified that Ledger had finished all of his scenes in principal photography, as well as post-production fulfillments (i.e., looping), thus making The Joker his final, completed film role.
In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks. During this extended stay of seclusion, Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing The Joker's every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic-sounding laugh (for the voice, Ledger's goal was to create a tone that didn't echo the work Jack Nicholson did in his 1989 performance as the Joker). Ledger's interpretation of The Joker's appearance was primarily based on the chaotic, disheveled look of punk rocker Sid Vicious combined with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm McDowell's character, Alex De Large, from A Clockwork Orange (1971).
Heath Ledger directed both homemade videos that the Joker sends to GCN himself. The first video involving the fake Batman was done under Christopher Nolan's supervision. Nolan thought Ledger had done so well with that sequence, he felt there was no need for him to be there when it came time to film the scene where reporter Mike Engel reads the Joker's statement. He put his trust in Ledger and let him do whatever he wanted, ultimately pleased with the result after he'd seen the outcome.
Made more money than Batman Begins (2005)'s entire domestic run in only 6 days of release.
This is the first Batman movie where Batman operates outside of Gotham.
While the movie was filming a chase scene on Lake Street, the Chicago Police Department received several calls from concerned citizens stating that the police were involved in a vehicle pursuit with a dark vehicle of unknown make or model.
The character of Reese is an allusion to The Riddler, who attempts to reveal the identity of Batman. Much like Edward Nygma whose name sounds like "enigma" (as in E. Nygma), Mr. Reese sounds like "mysteries".
While the film is dedicated to Heath Ledger, it also bears a dedication to Conway Wickliffe, a stuntman who was killed when the car he was driving crashed.
Bruce Wayne: Targeting me won't get their money back. I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Alfred Pennyworth: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.
Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after.
Alfred Pennyworth: With respect Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby...
The Joker: [to Det. Stephens]
Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the... little emotions. In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?
The Chechen: What do you propose?
The Joker: It's simple. We, uh, kill the Batman.
Salvatore Maroni: If it's so simple, why haven't you done it already?
The Joker: If you're good at something, never do it for free.
Harvey Dent: You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Batman: Then why do you want to kill me?
The Joker: [giggling]
I don't, I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, NO! No. You... you... complete me.
Batman: You're garbage who kills for money.
The Joker: Don't talk like one of them. You're not! Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.
The Joker: All you care about is money. This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I'm gonna give it to them!
[Batman slams The Joker's head on the table]
The Joker: Never start with the head. The victim gets all fuzzy. He can't feel the next...
[Batman punches the Joker's hand. The Joker pauses for a moment waiting for it to hurt]
The Joker: See?
The Joker: You know. I don't want there to be any hard feelings between us, Harvey. When you and, uh...
Harvey Dent: Rachel!
The Joker: Rachel were being abducted. I was sitting in Gordon's cage. Now, *I* didn't rig those charges.
Harvey Dent: Your men. Your plan.
The Joker: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just... *do* things.
James Gordon Jr.: Batman? Batman! Why's he running dad?
Lt. James Gordon: Because we have to chase him.
Okay we're going in! Go, go! Move!
James Gordon Jr.: He didn't do anything wrong.
Lt. James Gordon: Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.